PUNE: The much-awaited electrification work of the 76-km Pune-Daund railway route will take another year for completion. Authorities said about 35% of the work has been completed so far, and that the remaining work will be completed by September 2014. Work commenced about 10 months ago in December 2012.
Authorities said that work was underway as per schedule and that there have been no delays or hurdles so far. The project includes electrification of a section of 104 km, of which the Pune-Daund section is 76 kilometers long and Daund-Bhigvan section is 28 km long. The total cost of the project is Rs 167 crore.
The electrification of Pune-Daund section is vital to improve rail services in Pune region. There was a long pending demand of rail commuters for electrification of this section mainly to establish a direct link of electrical multiple unit (EMU) rakes (local trains) between Lonavla, Pune and Daund.
While the rail track between Lonavla and Pune is electrified, the Pune-Daund section is not, and so trains plying on this stretch run on diesel engines. Hundreds of commuters in suburban areas such as Pimpri Chinchwad, Khadki, Talegaon who wish to travel to Daund get down at Pune station to catch another train to travel to Daund.
A railway administration official said, “Electrification of Daund section is on priority. We are aiming to complete the work within stipulated time period. The work is underway in phases. We have begun with laying of foundations for poles. There is a plan to fix about 3,000 poles up to Daund to lay overhead electric cables and we have so far laid foundations for 1,800 poles. About 300 poles have been erected in Loni-Daund section. Work on laying cables will start after the poles have been erected.”
Officials said that the project is being implemented by the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL). A separate team of officials and engineers has been appointed to oversee the project.
Around 15,000 to 20,000 commuters travel on Pune-Daund section every day. The railway administration operates about 20 passenger trains on this route daily. Besides, over 50 long distance trains travelling to southern and northern destinations use the Pune-Daund route.
Railway authorities said the electrification would help reduce congestion in Pune station and increase speed of trains up to Daund, besides establishing a direct link for local trains up to Daund.
Harsha Shah of Railway Pravasi Group said, “Areas and towns that fall along the Daund route such as Hadapsar, Loni Uruli, Yevat are witnessing residential and commercial development. In coming years, citizens here will need public transport to travel to Pune and Mumbai. Hence, electrification of the Pune-Daund track is necessary. There is also a need to upgrade passenger amenities at stations located on Pune-Daund track. A direct train link between Daund and Lonavla would reduce pressure from road traffic,” said Shah.